You are Just One Weekend Away from a Much Better Closet

published Jan 29, 2019
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
(Image credit: Emma Fiala)

I purchased my first home a couple of years ago. Like most split-levels from the 1970s, it was built economically, but not luxuriously. The closets throughout the house—which were untouched when I bought it— had flimsy dark-stained doors on tracks that didn’t quite line up reliably. They each had disgusting carpet, and particle board shelves supported by DIY brackets that didn’t cut it.

While I could easily dream up expensive fixes for all of these closets—handcrafted custom built-ins, well-placed mirrors, and drawers—my main goal is to renovate within reason. So, I tackled all my closets with a uniform and simple approach: just make them look decent.

If you are in the process of KonMari-ing your closet right now, along with everyone else in the country, this is a good moment to take the time. Here’s what I did in my master bedroom, in just one weekend, along with some other ideas on how to improve your storage space.

(Image credit: Samara Vise)

Ditch the Doors

First thing I did was take off the old closet doors that were causing me problems. (I have them stowed away in the garage in case I think of a new use for them in the future). If you’ve never removed these kinds of tracked closet doors before, you don’t need a home improvement course to figure out how to do it, but it does require some patience and a lot of unscrewing.

Other options: I won’t keep a closet organized if I can’t see it, which is why I decided to keep mine door-less. But if you’d like a bit more of a partition, there are some great alternatives to traditional closet doors: beaded curtains, tasteful tapestries, salvaged glass doors, barn doors, or the perfect fabric curtain. Or, you can customize or makeover your existing door into something more fantastic.

(Image credit: Tanya Lacourse)

Prime and Paint

My property is filled with trees, which I love, but it makes the house dark. I went with bright white to help offset all the gloominess, including the closet. The walls in my house are also white, so, even without the doors, there’s a cohesive flow between the open storage space and the rest of the room.

Other options: Although I prefer basic white throughout the master bedroom, there are some great examples of closets with stellar interior walls that are a nice surprise. Paint the inside a bright, fun color or add pattern with wallpaper.

(Image credit: Esteban Cortez)

Replace Flooring

I couldn’t salvage the old carpet in my house and removing it required lots of ventilation and a mask, along with odor-blocking primer on the subfloors to get rid of the urine smell. Where there was once pee-stained muted aqua-colored carpet, there is now medium brown bamboo flooring.

Other options: Closets generally aren’t very large, which makes them a great place to try out new flooring without breaking the bank, or making a huge project out of it. If you’re a renter, float vinyl hardwood over the existing floor, temporarily wallpaper the surface, or other removable options.

(Image credit: Minette Hand)

Upgrade the Clothing Rod

Instead of buying a new rod, I took my old one outside and lightly sanded it, then sprayed it with a metallic brass paint. It’s an easy project but, since the rod is cylindrical, watch for drip marks and smooth them out before the paint has a chance to dry, or sand out any drips, and repaint.

Other options: Aesthetics aside, you can also significantly increase your storage capacity with a double rod that takes advantage of all your closet’s vertical space. You can install a second one permanently, or buy an inexpensive hanging rod as an add-on, then take it with you when you move.

I have grand ideas for what I’d like to do to this closet long-term (a bottom-level wall-to-wall shelf for shoes, built-ins to replace the hanging storage, and a couple more high-up shelves), but I’m pretty happy in the short term. It’s amazing the difference one weekend can make.

Other Closet Projects: